Future climate change will affect plants and soil differently
A new study has found that soil carbon loss is more sensitive to climate change compared to carbon taken up by plants. In drier regions, soil carbon loss decreased but in wetter regions soil carbon loss increased.
March 7, 2017
Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
A new study has found that soil carbon loss is more sensitive to climate change compared to carbon taken up by plants. In drier regions, soil carbon loss decreased but in wetter regions soil carbon loss increased. This could result in a positive feedback to the atmosphere leading to an additional increase of atmospheric CO2 levels.
Guidance for promoting synergy among activities addressing biological diversity, desertification, land degradation and climate change
Edited by Tracy Zussman
This report highlights the major biological factors that contribute to ecosystem resilience under the projected impacts of global climate change. It assesses the potential consequences for biodiversity of particular adaptation activities under the thematic areas of the Convention on Biological Diversity, provides methodological considerations when implementing these activities, and highlights research and knowledge gaps. The report contains:
an assessment of the integration of biodiversity considerations in the design and implementation of adaptation activities
approaches, methods and tools for planning, designing and implementing adaptation activities that also include biodiversity considerations
key points for advice.
The report both recognises the potential of, and stresses the need for, synergy in the implementation of activities that interlink biodiversity conservation, mitigation of and adaptation to climate change, and land degradation. The report recommends the following:
A forestry project is being implemented here with the main thrust of checking desertification in the country’s northwest region besides conserving biodiversity and other surrounding environment through a massive tree-sapling transplantation.
The scheme also intends to promote uses of surface water after reducing the gradually mounting pressure on groundwater through excavating and re-excavating of derelict ponds and other water bodies.
Department of Social Forestry (DSF) has been implementing the project titled “Eco-Restoration of the Northern Region of Bangladesh” in all 16 districts under Rajshahi and Rangpur divisions.
DSF divisional forest officer Imran Ahmed, told BSS that the four-year project is being implemented with an estimated cost of around Tk 247.9 million for establishing plantation aimed at biodiversity enhancement.
“We have already transplanted tree-saplings on more than 200-kilomter area under the project,” he said adding that poor and underprivileged people were incorporated in the project activities for improving their socio-economic condition.
The programme has been designed to increase the number of surface water reservoirs using derelict water bodies to promote sustainable utilisation for facilitating irrigation, maintain a near constant water table, domestic use and watering of forest nurseries.
It has provision to increase tree coverage for biodiversity conservation and wildlife habitat restoration, supply of raw materials and contribute to the local firewood needs.
The profitable afforestation activities will encourage many people in planting adequate saplings of wood, medicinal and fruit- bearing plants at homesteads, roadsides, office premises, embankments, forest areas, religious institutions’ premises and other places.
“Recognition of the true value of ecosystem services, and of the opportunities they offer, will enable better planning and realization of the full economic potential of dryland ecosystems, rebutting the common perception that drylands are ‘economic wastelands’” (IUCN, 2009).
Table of Contents
China: Boosting biodiversity for benefits to people and the environment 9
Jordan: Sustainable land management 15
Nicaragua: Nutrition security in the Dry Corridor in the face of El Niño 21
Senegal: What a little freshwater can do 27
Swaziland: Grass-roots governance beats overgrazing and gully erosion 32
Néré (Parkia biglobosa)—the African locust bean—is a very important tree species not only in Burkina Faso but across West Africa. It plays a significant role in the diet of rural and urban populations in Burkina Faso’s Sudano-Sahelian zone. The fruit provides seeds, which women process into a highly nutritious sauce (soumbala) that is eaten with grain-based dishes. Although women are the ones to harvest néré seeds for income and direct consumption, they have no secure access to tree resources. Moreover, the density of néré is declining because of threats hindering its regeneration, including population growth and the expansion of cultivated crops in an extensive agrarian system. In a condition of resource scarcity and increasing demand, changes in women’s use and access rights are taking place.
Catherine Pehou, a young researcher from Burkina Faso, shared her findings on shifting access rights to néré in a session on ‘Adoption, innovation and gender perspectives’ at the annual Tropentag conference held in Vienna from 19-21 September, 2016. Pehou analyzed the dynamic nature of women’s access rights and control over néré in three villages in Central-West Burkina Faso, inhabited by autochthonous (Nouni) and migrant ethnic groups (Mossi and Fulani). Through a mix of methods including participant observation, Catherine mapped the access rights of 180 women to 400 néné trees.
A flock of Ruffs in central Sudan. Birds are crucial for food security for the local populations. Photo: FAO/ONCFS
Sahel: UN and French conservation group partner on sustainable water bird management for food security
The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) today announced a new partnership with the French Facility for Global Environment (FFEM), aiming at adopting sustainable water bird hunting management to protect wetland resources in Africa’s Sahel region which are crucial for food security and economic development.
“Our goal is to adapt water bird hunting by promoting sustainable hunting management and bird conservation policies which will benefit those local communities who rely on birds for their livelihoods,” Eva Muller, Director of FAO’s Forestry Policy and Resources Division, said in a new release.
The newly-signed agreement between FAO and FFEM will co-fund one third of the five million euros project, specifically targeting the following main wetlands in the Sahel region: Chad, Egypt, Mali, Senegal and Sudan.
The ‘Strengthening expertise in Sub -Saharan Africa on birds and their rational use for communities and their environment’ (RESSOURCE) project will focus on wetlands situated in the Senegal River Valley, Inner Niger Delta, Lake Chad and the lower and middle reaches of the Nile.
These are ecosystem sites of critical importance where the food security and livelihoods of nearly a billion people depend on agriculture, livestock and natural resource use, including fishing and bird hunting, said FAO.
Chris Pelzer, Ann Bybee-Finley, and Casey McManus (L-R) clean up the edges of a cowpea plot about 30 days after planting the first field site for the experiment. Four different plant species are planted together in a team effort to diversify and add nutrients to the soil.
Credit: Sustainable Cropping Systems Lab
Intercropping: Intersection of soil health, production
September 21, 2016
American Society of Agronomy (ASA), Crop Science Society of America (CSSA)
Plant diversity in intercropping leads to more diversity below ground too. Researchers are working to find the right combination for optimal crop and soil performance.
Switchgrass offers versatility, seasonal interest in garden
Coastal gardeners will appreciate ‘Dewey Blue’ or Blue Sand Switchgrass, a selection of Panicum amarum that thrives in dry sandy soils with low fertility. This beauty boasts striking blue-green foliage and showy inflorescences in fall.
‘Cloud Nine’ switchgrass is in bloom along Johnnie Dodds Boulevard in Mount Pleasant. This is one of several cultivars of this native grass planted along the same street. Amy Dabbs
Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) has made headlines recently, as researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy found that it has excellent potential as a biofuel. This native grass is under close scrutiny for its fuel potential because it thrives in nearly every part of the country, can be grown easily from seed and does not require a lot of agricultural inputs such as fertilizer, pesticides or water.
Researchers are not alone in utilizing versatile switchgrass. Farmers feed its lush, warm-season growth to livestock and plant it as a windbreak between fields.
Engineers utilize switchgrass to stabilize soil and to control erosion.
Gardeners find that switchgrass makes a beautiful addition to naturalized gardens, wildflower meadows, perennial borders, pollinator gardens, rain gardens, bioswales, and many other landscape situations.
A wilderness comeback is underway across New England, one that has happened so incrementally that it’s easy to miss.
But step back and the evidence is overwhelming.
Today, 80 percent of New England is covered by forest or thick woods. That is a far cry from the mere 30 to 40 percent that remained forested in most parts of the region in the mid-1800s, after early waves of settlers got done with their vast logging, farming, and leveling operations.
According to Harvard research, New England is now the most heavily forested region in the United States — a recovery that the great naturalist Henry David Thoreau once thought impossible.
Meanwhile, some creatures of fur and feather have returned at astonishing speed — herds and flocks where there were just remnant populations; clear evidence of ecosystem revivals occurring over decades or even years, instead of centuries.
As desertification in China increases and government efforts to stop the sand’s advance falter, serious political risks are emerging from hub to hinterland.
When most people think of China’s landscape, they envision rivers and rice paddies, yet much of China does not conform to this image. From Tibet and Xinjiang, to the Russian border, the majority of Chinese territory is comprised of desert, grasslands, or arid steppe.
These regions only fell under official Chinese rule during the Qing dynasty, and for most of China’s 5,000 years as a civilization, dynasties and kingdoms have centered around the south-eastern river valleys and coasts.
The Green Wall of China
Following the creation of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1949, the country embarked on history’s largest nation building exercise. To this end, vast swathes of China’s forests were felled for fuel, lumber, and paper production for the billions of little red books and proclamations emanating from Beijing. This process was accelerated in the 1960s, as forest and grassland cover shrank, increasing the rate of desertification.
As the deserts grew, the government recognized the threat and began a gargantuan reforestation effort in 1978, planting 66 billion trees to date. This project – colloquially dubbed the ‘Green Wall of China’ – is a multigenerational mega project slated to be completed by 2050.
How planting trees created a desert
The government introduced fast-growing, but non-native species such as pine and poplar, while simultaneously rooting out local keystone species like sea buckthorn during the 1980s. The removal of sea buckthorn, removed a species playing a vital role in holding the soil together, thus increasing erosion.
The introduced pine and poplar are also very thirsty species, and introducing billions of them into an already arid environment, sunk the water table up to ten times below its original depth. This in turn killed off the shorter roots of prairie grasses, causing further desertification.